Political and Institutional Constraints on Water Resources Studies

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by Jon G. Sweeten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management and Urban Water Resources:

Abstract: Urban water resource planning studies are conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the request of a local sponsor, frequently in order to address a specific problem. The public often desires an evaluation of a wider variety of objectives, but these objectives sometimes fall outside the responsibility of the local sponsor. In these cases, it is more expedient to maintain a narrow study scope and thus achieve the goals of developing a supportable project and satisfying the study sponsor. Political support for the study is also better served when a local problem is clearly defined and a solution is presented. To accommodate the local partner who needs to share responsibility for the project cost, the Corps is trying to streamline the study process. In doing so, Corps studies may become increasingly single objective. This promotes multiple studies on a single project location, each developing individual plans that accomplish specific goals. This loss of a coordinated analysis will be an impediment to providing well-conceived, coordinated future water resource projects.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Political factors | Municipal water | Urban development | Federal government | Construction costs | United States Army Corps of Engineers |

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